Rafael Nadal ended the season with a win at the ATP Finals. Nadal defeated Casper Ruud 7-5 7-5 in the last round of 16 match to end his four-match losing streak. In addition, it was Rafa’s first victory as a father, who welcomed his son Rafael in October and needed 40 days to celebrate the first victory with a new member of the family.
Nadal suffered an abdominal injury at Wimbledon, reaching the semifinal before withdrawing before the clash with Nick Kyrgios. The Spaniard only played one match before the US Open and was unable to play injury-free in New York.
Rafa fell to Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round and was away from the courts for almost two months. Nadal knew he couldn’t wait long during the indoor tour in Paris and Turin, struggling to find form after such a long layoff and losing four straight for the first time since 2009.
Rafa fell to Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the ATP Finals before facing Casper Ruud in the final match of the season. Eager to end the losing streak and gain some momentum heading into 2023, the Spaniard beat the Norwegian 7-5 7-5 in one hour and 42 minutes.
Rafa took advantage of the fast indoor court to fire off 16 aces (five in a row, probably for the first time in his career), conceding just 11 points after the initial blow and saving two break points. Casper faced three break points and suffered a break in the closing stages of each set to finish the round 2-1 and advance to the semifinals for the second year in a row.
Nadal prevailed in the shorter and more advanced rallies, with 37 winners and 16 unforced errors, playing his best match in months. Both players served well in the early going and made it 4-4 in 32 minutes. Nadal gave up a routine forehand in the ninth game and experienced a break point.
He saved her after Ruud’s error and denied the second with a service winner for a great serve.
Rafael Nadal on his new experiences as a father
Rafael Nadal recently spoke about his new experiences as a father. “More tired, sleeping less,” Nadal said.
“It is one more worry in your life. Live it naturally, I am neither more nor less than any parent. Gladly. Trying to make the most of the moments that I can be with him. For me it’s not work, it’s practice. Just practice, try to make the right plan so that you can stay healthy enough to be ready for the start of the next season.
How early? I can’t tell you yet because, as you can imagine now, my life has changed a bit. I don’t make unilateral decisions. I need to review a bit,” Nadal said at a press conference after the match against Ruud.